Why Weatherize?

Zach Ralph from Sustainable Woodstock and Paige Heverly of Vital Communities will be working with local volunteers and residents during the Weatherize Upper Valley campaign.

Zach Ralph from Sustainable Woodstock and Paige Heverly of Vital Communities will be working with local volunteers and residents during the Weatherize Upper Valley campaign.

The simple answer is that weatherizing can save you money, but, in addition to lower energy bills, benefits include increased comfort and a healthier home.

At Sustainable Woodstock we have been working on weatherization projects for a number of years because we see the benefits of reducing our energy consumption. The 2016 Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) emphasizes the importance of efficiency and conservation in reaching the statutory state goal of 25% renewable by 2025. The CEP also states that “we have a moral and economic imperative to take substantial and consistent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate global climate disruption, while also preparing Vermont for its impacts.”

Weatherization of Vermont’s buildings also makes Vermonters less vulnerable to volatility in the fuel market and to the effects of dramatic weather fluctuations; more money will stay within the Vermont economy; and Vermonters will reap the health benefits of living and working in more comfortable and efficient buildings.

Many of Vermont’s buildings are old and have not been renovated or retrofitted in many years. In fact, approximately 76,800 Vermont homes — 30% of the total — were constructed before 1940. Owners can improve the energy efficiency of these older buildings; but as with any renovation process, this can seem a daunting and expensive task.

Homeowners are also often unsure about how to start the process of improving the efficiency of their home or where to go to get objective information. Some view high‑cost energy audits as a barrier to starting the process towards energy efficiency upgrades. Yet receiving information — including a comprehensive roadmap to energy improvements — is a crucial first step.

To help residents get started, Sustainable Woodstock has teamed up with Vital Communities for this year’s “Weatherize Upper Valley” where community volunteers work with certified weatherization contractors to provide professional home energy assessments, proposals, and quotes. Residents in Woodstock, Pomfret and Bridgewater can request a free comprehensive home energy walk-through before March 31 from our Weatherize partner contractors. Homeowners who sign weatherization contracts by May 31 will be entered into drawings for cash prizes up to $500 toward the cost of their energy improvements.

Our Weatherize contractors are Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified contractors and approved by Efficiency Vermont to provide weatherization services through state-approved rebate programs.
BPI contractors are trained to take a whole-home approach to improving your home’s efficiency, comfort, health, and safety, and they will:
• Help your home stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer
• Reduce your energy costs (average savings of 20-25%)
• Test your combustion appliances to ensure toxic gases are vented properly
• Ensure you have plenty of ventilation and fresh air even after your air sealing improvements are completed
• Reduce moisture, mold, and drafts that contribute to poor air quality
• Help eliminate ice dams and other issues related to heat loss

Most weatherization projects focus on air sealing and insulation, the two most cost effective ways to increase comfort and reduce energy costs. The suggested work scope you receive from your contractor will contain many improvement opportunities. If you can’t afford to tackle everything at once, your contractor can help you prioritize and choose a final work scope that meets your needs.
Your weatherization project will include:
1. Energy efficiency improvements as agreed upon between you and your contractor
2. Any necessary health and safety improvements
3. All required tests/diagnostics to qualify you for any available rebates

Every home is different. Project cost may vary from less than $5,000 to more than $12,000 depending on your home and your budget. Efficiency Vermont offers up to $2,000 for weatherization improvements, plus $500 if you also upgrade your heating system. Your contractor will take care of the paperwork for you. Low cost financing is also available. Many lenders offer secured and unsecured loans designed specifically for borrowers investing in home energy improvements.

Weatherize Upper Valley has a goal of doubling the number of home energy projects completed in the participating towns each year. The Weatherize Woodstock Pomfret Bridgewater has a goal of completing 25 weatherization projects in our towns.

To meet our BPI contractors, local residents are invited to a pizza party for our weatherize kickoff on Tuesday, January 30 from 6-7:30p.m at the Norman Williams Public Library. Please RSVP on our website – sustainablewoodstock.org or call 457-2911.

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